Art, Identity, Migration
Ben Uri’s Centenary Exhibition marks 100 years since the founding of the Ben Uri Art Society in 1915, in an East-End restaurant. The organisation was originally conceived as a space where Jewish émigré artists would have the opportunity to exhibit their work, away from the conservative art establishment. The history of Ben Uri and that of British art are closely intertwined; the blossoming of the immigrant generations of Jewish artists was mirrored by the development of modern painting in Britain. Ben Uri supported and in turn was supported by those artists. The outburst of creativity that burgeoned in London’s East End Jewish community, and gave this country so many of its ‘masters’ including the group now known and recognised as ‘The Whitechapel Boys’, also gave birth to Ben Uri.
In 2015 Ben Uri will see its 100th year. To celebrate this miraculous journey from art society to museum and collection Somerset House will be hosting our centenary exhibition, entitled ‘Art, Identity, Migration: A century of the Ben Uri Collection 1915 – 2015’, which will include a selection of paintings, works on paper, new media and sculpture, as well as a display of pieces from the newly researched Ben Uri Archive. Included in the show will be world-class works by artists such as Frank Auerbach, Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine, displayed alongside important examples of fine work by lesser-known émigré artists. Some of these individuals were not so fortunate in their careers for a variety of reasons often related to their migration and for whom Ben Uri provided an important exhibition platform. There will also be a selection of associated events and community learning activities in conjunction with the main exhibition organised by our education department.
Planning an exhibition of this size and scale is an enormous undertaking and would simply not be possible without the support of our donors. For the first time in Ben Uri’s amazing 14-year journey since reopening in St. Johns Wood, we seek your support to help us continue to deliver and plan for our centenary year in 2015. More information about how you can donate and lend your support is available here: http://po.st/bRWGeV